Pura vida in Costa Rica.


My stay in Costa Rica was a little less short than my time spend in El Salvador, but still way shorter than my weeks in Nicaragua. Since M. and I are backpackers, our budget is slightly smaller than all the American couples we met spending their one time a year 5 days-holiday in Costa Rica. We decided one week was enough for our bankaccounts, especially because M. convinced me to spend two weeks in Cuba with her. – which I’m so excited for, but it’s pricey – 

Since it’s low season, there are way less backpackers than normal, especially in Costa Rica – told you, too expensive –. Still, we had a lot of fun with the two of us. First stop in Monteverde, where you can find a cloud forest, fog, frogs, sloths, snakes, porcupines and whatever you can think about hiding in the trees. And ziplining. Which was the main reason why we got there in the first place. Flying through the forest, meters above the ground, butterflies and greenery surrounding you, sounds awesome, no? I can tell you, it is. 19 different ziplines, two supermans – with your face towards the ground, like superman, duh – and a tarzan swing – aaaiaaaaaiaaaaaaa – made us forget quickly our tiredness of waking up early. – two german bitches, excuse my language, wake us up at 5 o’clock in the morning by turning on the light to pack their bags. You just don’t do that if you don’t want to drive the rest of the dorm insane – In the meantime, we could enjoy our surroundings while walking up stairs in the middle of the forest, covered in sweat – not the trees, we of course – and our bodies buzzing with adrenaline. Before the flying through the trees experience, we saw the forest on a different level: in the dark, when every creature or animal hiding in the bushes is awake. A guide showed us some venomous snakes, frogs, a tarantula, a porcupine and a sloth in two hours wandering around. I’m not so fond of everything venomous and hairy, but I could definitely appreciate a two hour search for wildlife. – though I kept my distance with the snakes, you never know –

After all those trees and animals, it was time for some hot water springs and volcanoes. We took the scenic route to La Fortuna, – which means a bus with magnificent views, a boat with magnificent views and another bus with magnificent views – a small city mainly known for the volcano and the hot springs surrounding it. Luckily we found out we didn’t need to go to a fancy hotel near the slopes of the volcano, we could just take a shuttle to the free hot springs. Which was an amazing experience. The guide took us and his cooler through a hole in the wire – I don’t know from who the wire was and I don’t want to know either – downhill to the bottom of a hot stream. Once there, we could swim in the stream, go further up to hotter areas or just sit and enjoy my first warm bath in ages. What I didn’t mention was the time of the day: sunset. So there we were, sitting in a hot stream, in the dusk, with a cup of rhum and coke – the guide had a cooler, remember –, in between the trees, the rest of the world forgotten, looking at the stars. I wouldn’t have been surprised if a T-rex jumped out of the bushes, my life felt so far away from the modern world at that moment.

From La Fortuna it was time to move on to San José, our last stop before flying into Cuba. No shuttle bus this time, but instead rafting down the Pacuare river before hopping onto the bus to the capital. I’d never rafted before, so I was quite nervous to get on the raft and in the river – and I was scared of losing my lenses –. So much fun I had, never thought I would enjoy it this much. The guide was very entertaining, when he wasn’t making a backflip from the raft into the wild water, he was joking how we would fall off or laughing with us getting soaking wet by some of the bigger waves. Of course, every trip on the river somebody falls off the boat. Of course, this time, it happened to be me. It got me a laugh from the guide and a lot of questioning from people on other boats – where you on the raft where somebody fell off? Yes, it was me. Any further questions? –. Despite that, it’s just great to raft in between rainforest and giant rocks and indegenous land and to have lunch in the middle of nowhere.

After a whole day of having fun and being wet, we arrived in our hostel in San José. When you take a bus or just drive around the country, you can see how beautiful nature is around here, the diversity, green and lush. San José is exactly the opposite for me. Grey, ugly with some nice buildings from time to time. Some hidden treasures between the chaos of too much advertising. Highlight of the city was the National Theatre, neoclassicistic and completely preserved. We also found this tiny smoothiebar with the most delicious juices and chocolatecake. – a city mainly to pass through, but maybe I needed a local to show me the nice places? – 

After San José, time for us to fly to Cuba. More about Cuba later, next blogpost: the last two weeks of my trip in Panama!


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Anke Roosendans

illustrator / travel addict / architecture lover / crazy about mid-century modern design

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